The Merry Wives of Maggody

August 27, 2011 - The Merry Wives of Maggody (Joan Hess). The author returns to the friendly confines of Maggody, Arkansas for the 16th time, picking up where the previous book left off three or four years ago.

As the story opens, Maggody Police Chief Arly Hanks is pregnant and alone. She's fretting over how and when to tell the baby daddy, Jack, who's incommunicado for six weeks because he's on a photo shoot in the jungle or something. But, soon, enough, Arly has other problems to occupy her time, namely, a golf tournament where murder is par for the course.

Mrs. Jim Bob, the mayor's wife, has organized the tournament to raise money for all those poor golf widows out there. Somehow, she's managed to convince a local businessman to offer a very nice boat as a prize for the first hole-in-one. The lure of the boat pits the husbands and wives of Maggody against each other. But, it also serves to attract some better than average golfers to the tournament.

The fun and games end quickly when the pro who won the boat ends up dead, his skull smashed by a golf club. Less than 24 hours later, that man's best friend also turns up dead in a similar fashion. Arly has no shortage of suspects including a mysterious gentleman and a long-lost Buchanon who's from the wrong branch of the family.

It took me four months to read this book. Mostly, I was busy, but when I wasn't, I also wasn't motivated to pick up the book and read a few pages. There are instances here where characters behave out of character – even for them. But, mostly, it's another so-so-visit to Maggody and I'm not sure it'll be worth going back.